In Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, Washington temperatures were hovering around the 20’s and 30’s last week. We had a very cold end of 2022 and beginning of 2023. You would think that with all this cold weather that the sugar ants would cooperate by not showing themselves again until at least early spring. You would think this, but you, of course would be wrong. They don’t call them nuisance pests for nothing and they can be found all year long.
I was taking down the Christmas tree yesterday and found a long trail of ants near the front door, happily making their way towards my kitchen. These particular ants are known as “odorous house ants” or more commonly as “sugar ants”. Living in the Vancouver, Washington area, I get these ants every once in a while around the house. They are actually very common and account for the majority of our customer calls at New Leaf Pest Control.
How do ants get inside the house?
A sugar ant is a type of soil ant, so it lives in the ground outside your home. These colonies of ants are all over the place and are constantly stirring and breaking off into sub-colonies. Sometimes you will spot a trail of ants, each holding a small white egg. This means the colony is moving and looking to establish themselves in a new location. Often times when an ant colony moves, it is looking for a nice warm spot to avoid a cold harsh winter. An ant can easily make its way up your concrete foundation, slip underneath your homes siding and find themselves inside a cozy, warm and insulated exterior wall. Once they are in, your wall becomes their new home and it is time to start sending out scouts to look for food (usually the kitchen).
So, if you happen to find sugar ants inside of your home, raiding your kitchen, what should you do? Many people choose to try the DIY method of pest control and purchase pest products from the store. Although sometimes these products can provide some temporary relief, they rarely get to the source of the problem. In fact, store bought sprays are actually counterproductive. Almost all over the counter pest sprays are in the form of a repellent, which will make things worse. A sugar ant will sense the repellent and go into panic mode, which usually results in an increase in the reproduction rate to offset the threat or they will just go ahead and break off into smaller colonies and spread out. Either way, this prolongs the problem.
Store bought baits are better, but rarely provide the ultimate fix that you are looking for.
Which brings me to the obvious point that you were probably expecting from a blog post by a Pest Control company in Portland and Vancouver. You should probably just call us or send us a message to set up a free inspection or estimate. We would be happy to take care of your pest control issues.